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Yoga says Peace of Mind is Possible

Our interactions with others provide some of the richest experiences of our lives, belonging to communities, creating and contributing in our careers, and even sharing the ups and downs of life with lovers and families. On the other hand, doesn’t it seem that finding the kind of inner peace and non-attachment you associate with yoga might be a lot easier if it weren’t for all those annoying other people?

Nothing disturbs my meditation like recalling an interaction with an irritated neighbor or thinking about how to answer a whiny email. Nevertheless, the Yoga Sutra suggests that we can find cultivate non-attachment, live peacefully, and, at the same time, enjoy the company of others for all its blessings and challenges.

In Yoga Sutra 1.33, Pantajali advises this:

By cultivating an attitude of friendship toward those who are successful, compassion for those who are suffering, joy toward those who are virtuous, and equanimity toward those who are non-virtuous, lucidity arises in the mind.

Each of these four approaches is worthy of being considered carefully, as each allows the mind to become more calm, peaceful, and pure. Yogis would say, more sattivic. In some ways, the second, to have compassion for those who are suffering, seems like it may be the easiest to live by. We may find compassion pulling often at our heartstrings, and it may be almost impossible to imagine ourselves acting cruelly. But for many, we need look no further for an example of ruthlessness than in the ways that we talk to ourselves. Pandit Rajmani Tigunait suggests, in the Secret of the Yoga Sutra, that a compassion that does not include the self is, in fact, woefully inadequate.

Compassion for yourself, by the way, doesn’t imply, letting yourself off the hook and allowing the development of a sloppy character. Having high standards for yourself is a good thing. But compassion allows room for making mistakes, for growing, for resting when weary, and for celebrating your efforts and your many gifts. This kind of self-care and love may help you develop the most admirable character of all, as well as the inner peace to navigate our crazy world and still attend to your practice.
Discuss this and the rest of the Sutra with me Saturday, June 10 from 9:00 am to 11:00 am at Yoga Bird

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